curry favor

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Originally from a French poem Roman de Fauvel, written in the early 1300s; Fauvel was a conniving stallion, and the play was a satire on the corruption of social life. The name Fauvel points to the French fauve ('chestnut, reddish-yellow, or fawn'), another sense of fauve meaning the class of wild animals whose coats are at least partly brown, and the medieval belief that a fallow horse was a symbol of deceit and dishonesty. The phrase curry Fauvel, then, referred to currying (or combing) the horse, and was turned by later speakers into curry favor.


curry favor

  1. (idiomatic) To seek to gain favor by flattery or attention.